Last year has really tested our faith says Offaly Parish Priest
An Offaly Parish Priest has said 2020 has tested people's faith but the community and parish have rallied together and grown.
In a message to parishioners as the year closed, the parish priest of Tullamore, Fr Joe Gallagher, said: “Last year, 2020 is a year that will be etched on our minds forever. It has been a very difficult year for everyone. Nobody could have believed that our world would be turned upside down so easily and it has really tested our faith. In times of crisis we can rediscover the strength of faith.”
He continued: “We have been asked to travel along an unknown road. We are not in charge of the journey and we do not know what the 'new normal' will be like.
“During the past year we have prayed as we have never prayed before. We have prayed for ourselves, for our families, for those who are away. We have prayed for our frontline workers who have bravely worked to save lives.
“We have prayed for our researchers and scientists that they will be inspired to learn about the working of this virus and come up with medicines that will keep us healthy.
“We have prayed for our workers who have been unable to work and for businesses who are struggling. We have prayed for our nursing home residents and for their families who have endured a terrible separation from people that we love dearly.
“We have prayed for our dead. We have lived with the pain of not being able to go to funerals and grieve our dead and support their families.
“And now it is the season of Christmas and we begin a new year. It is a light in a very dark time of year and we look forward in hope.
“This is the time when Christ comes to us as our saviour. This is the time when Christ takes us by the hand the leads and guides us on this mysterious journey.
“It is very difficult for us to put our hand into the hand of another and say, I trust you, and that is the very essence and the reality of faith.
“This is not a dream, this is the promise of Christ to us. This is what makes us strong. We can look beyond ourselves to a better future. This is Christmas - Christ the saviour is born!”
Fr Gallagher concluded: “On behalf on everyone on the parish team I want to thank you, our parishioners for your prayers and support during the past testing year.
“We have rallied together as community and as parish and we have grown together. May the hope and strength of Christ be with you in this New Year.”
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